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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1990 (DOST Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Ranso(u)m, n. Also: -some, -sowme; raun-, rawnsome; rainsom. [ME and e.m.E. ransoum (c1320), -sum (c1350), raunsom (Lydgate), var. with altered ending of Ranso(u)n n.] Chiefly after 1500. The only earlier instances, in Wyntoun, do not occur in a rhyming position.

a. = Ranso(u)n n. 1.(1) c1420 Wynt. vii 1579 h. of ch. (W).
Off the King Williammys taking, And of his ransoum and pes making
(2) c1420 Wynt. ii 1555.
He delyveryde hyr all fre Tyll hyr systyr … And for hyr rawnsome tuk na mare Than [etc.]
1512 Treas. Acc. IV 300. a1538 Abell 15a.
He lowsit out of captiuite 120 thowsand Iowis gewand for thare ransome 120 thousand dragmatis of siluir
1548 Corr. M. Lorraine 268.
And hes haldin the saidis master with uder thre plegen for the ransom of the rest
1659 House Gordon II 128.
Alexander … being given to King Edward the Third for the ransome of his uncle King David
fig. 1551 Hamilton Cat. 279.
He … be the meritis of his bitter passion hes payit the pryce of our raunsome, and hes deliverit us fra synne

b. = Ranso(u)n n. 2.(a) 1512 Treas. Acc. IV 305.
Ane li. … in part of payment of certane Inglismen ransoum
1552 Reg. Privy C. I 124.
Sik bandis or ransoms
15.. Clar. ii 1704.
I weinit our knichts sould thair ransoum bring
1558 Admir. Ct. Bk. 52.
That the saidis personis complenit one suld cum hame and the said Williame to ly in plage of thair ransoms
1572 Bann. Memor. 268.
The counte of Hannow … was … set at 4000 crovnes ransowme
1593 Crim. Trials I ii 286.
Oppressand sic as may not resist him, … and takand ransomis
(b) 1551 Corr. M. Lorraine 355.
Detayned till they compounded for raunsome to be payde at Christmas
That the said gentilmen may be free of raunsome
(c) 1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 285.
The … presonaris wer … delyuerit vpoun cautioun for payment of rainsomis
fig. 1551 Hamilton Cat. 223.
He hes maid satisfactioun and payit our ransome

c. attrib. and comb. in ransoum fre and with breif and payer. Cf. Ranso(u)n n. 4.In lit. and transf. senses. a1568 Scott xxxvi 76.
Jerusalem, thy haly grave, Quhilk makis ws ransome fre
1558-66 Knox I 103.
Diverse presonaris tackin at Solane Mosse war send home ransome free
1645 Rutherford Tryal Faith 186.
You shame the glory of the ransom payer
1693 Conv. Burghs IV 186.
The capers pretended that the Scots ships was bound for France and that the ransome breif was no reall thing but a bussiness conceived in France

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"Ransom n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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